COLUMBUS, OHIO – Justin Kloos was the Gophers’ hottest player coming into this weekend, scoring one goal in eight of the past nine games.
But Minnesota needed him to score two Friday night — and he did.
The junior captain’s second goal of the game gave the Gophers a 5-4 overtime victory over Ohio State in a Big Ten men’s hockey game at Value City Arena.
It came at 3 minutes, 25 seconds of the extra period and gave the Gophers (15-13, 10-3 Big Ten) their third overtime win over the Buckeyes (8-15-2, 3-6-2-1) in as many meetings this season.
Freshman Tyler Sheehy’s goal for the Gophers with 2:45 left looked like it was going stand as the winner with the final seconds ticking away.
His goal broke a 3-3 tie and came off a nice pass from Taylor Cammarata, who was in the slot and found Sheehy by the left post.
But the Buckeyes, with goalie Christian Frey pulled for an extra attacker, put the pressure on Gophers goalie Eric Schierhorn in the closing seconds. He blocked a shot and fell to the ice as the puck squirted to Matthew Weis in the left circle.
Weis scored with just one-tenth of a second left in regulation time, tying the score at 4-4 to force overtime.
But then Kloos came to the rescue.
“I feel a little weight off my shoulders,” Kloos said, “because I think that last goal, I kind of got caught puck-staring, and it ended up right in front of our own net, where I should have been a lot closer to Schiers to help protect the slot. So, I was happy to redeem myself there in overtime.”
The goal stunned Schierhorn, but he was still confident.
“All of a sudden, [the puck] pops out to their guy, and it’s in and out, one-tenth of a second left, here we go again,” he said.
Then he thought, “We’ve beat these guys twice in overtime already, so we can do it again.”
Ohio State took a 1-0 lead midway through the opening period on Christian Lampasso’s first goal of the season.
But with 25 seconds left in the period, Kloos tied the score to extend his career-best points streak to 10 games. He has 10 goals in that stretch — 14 for the season — and 12 assists, including one Friday.
Sophomore Leon Bristedt put Minnesota ahead 2-1 with a goal in the fourth minute of the second period.
Ohio State scored two power-play goals early in the third period to take a 3-2 lead. David Gust beat Schierhorn at 1:15 and Dakota Joshua at 3:22. Joshua collected the puck behind the net and skated out front to tuck the puck into the lower left corner.
It took the Gophers only 1:08 to tie the score again. Tommy Novak scored on a rebound in front. Connor Reilly took the initial shot.
The Gophers outshot Ohio State 40-27 in improving to 3-3 in overtime games this season. Ohio State dropped to 0-4-2 in overtimes.
“We weren’t too down on the bench,” said Kloos, referring to the mood before overtime, “because we’ve been through this before plenty of times. Fortunately, we were able to come out on top.”
Said coach Don Lucia: "To our guys' credit, that was a little bit of a gut punch, and you've got to be able to respond. And our guys did tonight."